Recognize that gorgeous garden?
It stood in for Versailles in Outlander's season 2 -- coming back to you now?
We were able to visit this filming location this past summer, a castle named Drummond with the most amazing gardens. Drummond Castle itself is closed to the public, as the family still lives there and it is NOT the castle actually seen in Outlander. The gardens, however, are completely real and as beautiful as they seem on film. The gardeners at Drummond have made fantastic use of masses of plants to create large swaths of color in geometric designs. Lavender is used extensively:
Perhaps the most widely used plant is the homely, yet lovely lambsear (Stachys byzantina).
|Can you see all those bees?!?|
While we were there in the summer, the bees around the lambear and lavender hedges were CRAZY.
I have NO idea how Caitriona could stand there without getting stung!
I actually did not realize that this was the filming location for Versailles when we first pulled into the parking lot and my husband made an off-handed comment that he thought they might have filmed something here? In any case, once I saw the gardens, I had my phone out looking up screenshots and trying to match them. I felt idiotically touristy and yet had SO much fun.
Here is Jaime and Blackjack:
Note the statuary in the back!
If I didn't feel ridiculous enough running around trying to find exact filming angles, I then saw THIS:
|I literally had to crawl on the ground to get close to this little guy and get a picture.|
A REAL LIFE HEDGEHOG.
Now, I don't know about you, but in our home the hedgehog is almost at mythic proportions in the imaginations of our children and we have a large number of stuffed creatures bearing resemblance to this never-before-seen hog. I can now certifiably say they are RIDICULOUSLY CUTE. Think a squirrel, but rounder and slower. He let me get within a foot or so before scampering off into the.....yes.....hedge.
We also found this stunning creature wandering around the castle grounds:
Tame as a housecat:
Every angle in the garden was a picture:
At the bottom of the garden, we stumbled upon a humbly labeled Vegetable Garden.
There were peas and beans and the normal veggie garden fare, but my favorite section were the trellised grapes in the greenhouse:
The Frustrated Gardener (don't know why he is frustrated!!?!) recently posted a similar photo of an estate greenhouse and mentioned working with his grandfather on citrus trees in the "golden era of estate gardening". That idea of estate gardening and what it used to be like really captivated my imagination and I would love for him to write more about his memories. I love the idea of grapes and citrus hanging from greenhouse rafters in every season ready to pick, gardeners on staff to coax bloom and fruit out of all manner of fruit tree and vine.....ahhh....one can only dream! HERE is the referenced post on The Frustrated Gardener if you are interested!
The roses were also back behind the vegetable garden:
Don't miss them if you go!
...and looking back towards the formal gardens and a view of Drummond Castle (NOT Versailles).
Now onto the REAL Versailles:
No, we didn't make it to the real thing, but Vendome Press just came out with a new publication that is simply amazing. The four photographers of Versailles (yes, FOUR photographers that have the job of photographing Versailles -- WHAT A JOB!) took all of the shots in this book and it is an fantasticly big coffee table book.
Here is the smallest of sneak peeks:
The wavy glass!
Inner workings - WOW!
...and then this amazingness that makes me want to have half-painted frescoes all over my house...
If you have a historian friend or Versailles fan in your family, this book would make an amazing gift!
I am going to go dream now of gilded things and grand greenhouses from the golden era of estate gardening...